Friday, March 27, 2015

  • Friday, March 27, 2015
  • Elder of Ziyon
The Amnesty report I mentioned yesterday referenced the IDF document "Violations of the Law of Armed Conflict, War Crimes, andCrimes Against Humanity Committed by Hamas and OtherTerrorist Organisations During Operation Protective Edge" that was released earlier this year.

Yet they seem very selective as to what they believe.

While the title of one previous Amnesty document slamming Israel, "Nothing is Immune," came from an out-of-context quote of an anonymous Israeli official, the only quotes they believe from Israelis are the ones that confirm their pre-existing biases. Amnesty will also happily quote Gazans without any skepticism. When the IDF publishes what soldiers actually saw first-hand, however, those testimonies are not worth even mentioning.

Because Amnesty (and HRW) assume a priori that Israelis are liars.

The IDF document shows that Hamas didn't merely warn the general Gaza population to stay in their homes, as Amnesty claims, They were a lot more specific:

  • Prior to the July 19 entry of IDF ground troops into Shejaiya, neighborhood mosques instructed civilians to remain in the area despite IDF warnings to evacuate, assuring civilians that Hamas was strong and no harm would befall them. 
  •  International organisations reported to the IDF’s Coordination and Liaison Administration that Hamas had used megaphones to exhort residents of northern Gaza, particularly Shejaiya, not to evacuate their homes. 
  •  On July 16, Fatah officials reported to the Palestine Press News Agency that Hamas security services had placed Fatah members under house arrest in order to prevent them from assisting civilian evacuations. 

Amnesty's response?
[T]he Hamas authorities instructing civilians in the Gaza Strip not to leave their homes could have been out of concern for their safety or a desire to avoid further panic. It cannot be presumed that the intention of any such statements by the authorities was to use civilians to prevent the targeting of specific military objectives by Israeli forces.

This is even though the IDF found Hamas documents that said how valuable it was to their efforts to have civilians around to frustrate Israel's ability to fight! Amnesty can't mention would rather give Hamas the benefit of the doubt.

But Hamas went even beyond this in its use of human shields:

Hamas and other terrorist organisations in Gaza sometimes directed the movement of civilians by explicit coercion. This was confirmed by eyewitness testimony from a number of IDF officers present in Gaza during the ground maneuver.

One such account was provided by IDF Civilian Affairs Officer Lieutenant Kfir. According to Lt. Kfir, when IDF troops entered the Khan Younis area during the first week of the ground operation, the IDF warned civilians to evacuate the area due to impending military activity. Following the warnings, Lt. Kfir came upon 17 Gazan civilians who had remained in a house in the area. When he asked why they had not evacuated despite the warnings, they relayed to him that Hamas had forced them to stay.109

According to additional eye-witness accounts of IDF officers, militants of Hamas and other terrorist organisations sometimes physically coerced civilians, including women and children, into providing them cover as they moved around Gaza. IDF Sgt. Avi testified that:

A man about 40 years old walked out of a house nearby, and then I saw that he was holding a woman, and he was using her as a shield...And I can see very clearly that the woman doesn’t want to be there and he’s pulling her with him. Only after he finally let go of the woman could we neutralise him.110

Another IDF officer, Lt. Adam, witnessed the use of a child to provide cover to a militant. He described how, as IDF troops were searching for a militant known to be hiding in a particular house, he saw the militant grab a small boy nearby and use him to shield his escape.
Amnesty made no attempt to interview these witnesses these stories which they are aware of.. They merely said "Amnesty International has not been able to corroborate the facts in any of these cases. Specific assertions of the use of civilians as “human shields” by Palestinian armed groups in the Gaza Strip should be independently investigated."

As usual, claims that benefit Hamas are believed unless there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary, and claims against Israel are believed, well, completely.

Amnesty is truly a joke.

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